Misled: Gov’t Study Claims Contingent Workforce is Shrinking. False.

Contingent workforce study resultsDespite what you might think from having attended myriad weddings, bar mitzvahs, or other parties, Kool & the Gang has songs other than “Celebration.” (I had to look this up to verify.) One such song is called “Misled.” It includes lyrics like, “She’s as heavy as a Chevy” and “So enticing, he’s sure to take a bite.”

The video hilariously begins with our hero washing his face in the sink – a surefire way, if there ever was one, to heighten suspense and draw the audience in.

Also to draw you in, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) headlined its just-released study on the contingent workforce by concluding that the number of contingent workers is declining compared to 2005. Whah?

Don’t be misled. (She is not, in fact, as heavy as a Chevy.) BLS’s methodology is flawed and confusing. The study counts only people’s primary jobs. So the hundreds of thousands of people who hold regular jobs and drive for ride sharing apps on the side? Not counted.

Why not? Great question. BLS published a whole page of Q&A, but BLS did not tackle that question, the most obvious of them all.

What does this study tell us? Not much.

We know that the number of workers in the gig economy is vastly greater than in 2005. The year 2005 was before Uber and before Lyft (and before the release of the 2007 studio album Still Kool). The contingent workforce has not shrunk since the gig economy emerged. So if you read a headline that includes the surprising conclusion that the contingent workforce is shrinking, don’t be misled.

© 2018 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.

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